Lack of 5 set finals at ATP level harming young players at slam level?

08-15-2010, 12:58 PM
You might remember I wrote an article a few months ago about restoring 5 set finals at Masters level

It seems that its really difficult for younger players to establish themselves at slam level, harder than in the past.

And I think of Andy Murray who's about to play Roger Federer later in Canada. Of course this final will be best of 3 so close to the US Open but I was thinking that Murray is coming up to 24 years old and he's one of the best players in the world - and I don't think he's ever won a 5 set final.....Please correct me if I'm mistaken.

Until Ettiene DeVilliers messed up with the calendar, many ATP tournaments had 5 sets finals, not just Masters, I can think of these:

Basel, Barcelona, Vienna, Monte Carlo (previously a Masters event), Gstaad among others.

I think its concerning that young players are not getting the exposure to playing 5 set finals before they get to slam level arena – they are not getting adequate preparation on how to approach a longer match with everythng on the line. Murray has done well against Federer but has never beaten him in a 5 set situation.

Before Federer won Wimbledon in 2003 he won Masters events in Hamburg playing 5 set finals and winning them. Before Nadal won the French in 2005 he played 5 set finals in Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome.

Sampras won his first ever tournament in 1990 as an 18 year old playing a 5 set final in Philadelphia against Gomez.

I just wonder if it would do the younger players some good to get the feel of playing 5 set finals at ATP level so they are better prepared should they get to a Grand Slam final?

Action Jackson
08-15-2010, 01:09 PM
They won't be going to back to it. Disney was a clown and just wanted to protect the top brass, more exposure to 5 set finals would be good.

Murray was just not good enough to win those finals.

08-15-2010, 01:23 PM
Monte Carlo is still a MS. It's just not mandatory.

08-15-2010, 01:38 PM
Interesting question but I cannot see a return to 5 set finals for ATP tournaments. I would, however, like to see 5 set finals in the WTF.

On the question of whether a lack of 5 set matches may be detrimental to a young player in a slam who is not very well tested in the longer format of the game, you may possibly be right. But it must be noted that it didn't seem to be a problem for Del Potro at USO 2009.

Moreover I think we are living in a bit of a unique era at the moment with two individual players taking more or less all the slams (and thus preventing younger players from coming through to win the majors). In any case by the time Federer and Nadal have retired, none of the young players will have experienced 5 set ATP finals and so they will all be on an equal footing.

08-15-2010, 02:51 PM
masters shouldnt have 5set matches only slams

08-15-2010, 02:57 PM
IMO all the TMSes should have a required best-of-5 final.

However, I don't see how it makes a difference for young players who are not going to get that far in the TMS events, which after all feature the toughest and most dense fields throughout the ATP calendar. (It's pretty much only the usual suspects making it to the end of the Masters tourneys, ala today with Murray and Fed.) The game has changed and due to its increasingly physical nature, teens can't excel as they have in the past. The same is true even in women's tennis.

Maybe they should feature more best-of-5 in juniors? Does the Orange Bowl or any other junior event have a 5-set final? I'd guess not, but maybe they should try to make some changes so that the players know a little bit more what to expect physically on the tour.

08-15-2010, 03:36 PM
Would be nice to see the best of 5 finals back but it won't happen.

08-15-2010, 03:59 PM
Valid point. I would not mind 5 sets finals (and semis) for Masters.

08-15-2010, 04:00 PM
I do see your point, laurie, but the ways things typically pan out, young contenders in their first slam final seem to draw most from 5-set experiences in that particular slam. Then from 5-set experiences in other slams on that particular surface. Then maybe from 5-set experiences they've had in slams on other surfaces.

This is partly because they've probably had more of those experiences than a masters final. And also because winning a big match at a slam is always a different kettle of fish. Even before DeVilliers' change.

08-15-2010, 04:51 PM
Cilic is the youngest player in top 50 and his 5 set record is outstanding.

08-15-2010, 07:27 PM
Brands won a 5 setter at Wimbledon, so he is good.

08-15-2010, 08:32 PM
It shouldn't have a bearing on it at all...when there were 5 set finals, it was only at most of the Masters Series tournaments, the Masters Cup, and then a few random other tournaments (like Gstaad, Stuttgart, etc). So it's not like a lot of players got to take part in them anyway

Johnny Groove
08-15-2010, 08:35 PM
Young players should practice best of 5 matches. Like I do.

08-15-2010, 08:38 PM
Young players should practice best of 5 matches. Like I do.

But you will never be successful on the tour so who cares what you do? :wavey: